Artistic Attitude As A Factor Of Literary Relations


The article reveals the methodological potential of the teachings of A.F. Loseva on the artistic attitude. The study is based on the material of F.M. Dostoevsky and A.P. Chekhov: Following A.F. Losev, the authors consider tragedy as the fundamental characteristic of the artistic worldview and the tragic myth as the paradigm of the artistic picture of the world. In the writers' work, projections of three planes of a tragic myth are traced: the world as a confrontation between chaos and space, man as its focus, the world on the eve of transformation. The presence of all three plans in the work of both writers is recognized as the most critical indicator of their artistic world organic relationship. The authors are focusing on the analysis of "disorder" in the internal sphere of the personality undertaken by Russian writers. "Disorder" is associated with the loss of a "binding idea" – a direct experience of communion with God. Dostoevsky and Chekhov are trying to recreate the "binding idea" by the immanent means of secularized consciousness. To this end, Dostoevsky and Chekhov lead the heroes to new spiritual dead ends and ruins, which together give a picture of global catastrophism, which carries the foreboding of the Apocalypse. The authors show that the saturation of Chekhov's works with apocalyptic motifs can be explained when referring to the category of attitude in Losev's understanding of it. The authors trace the inextricable link between the catastrophism experiences and the world transformation.

Keywords: Artistic attitudetragic mythDostoevskyChekhov


The issue of artistic perception of the world has not yet become a subject of particular theoretical understanding in literary criticism. The need for a fundamental distinction between the worldview concepts and attitude and their importance in the study of the poetics issue remained unconscious. We will demonstrate the methodological relevance of the category of artistic outlook on the material of F.M. Dostoevsky and A.P. Chekhov.

Until the end of the 1960s, the opinion of the incompatibility of the artistic worlds of F.M. Dostoevsky and A.P. Chekhov. In subsequent years, this point of view was substantially revised in the works of E.A. Polotskaya, M.P. Gromov, R.G. Nazirov, M.M. Dunaev, N.V. Zhivolupova, and other researchers. In Chekhov's work, different ideological and thematic links with Dostoevsky's works were traced. An ongoing study of the philosophical and religious content of Chekhov's works in the 1990s and 2000s led to the conclusion that, in this respect, Chekhov was not inferior to Dostoevsky.

Developing the observations of many researchers, one of the authors of this article showed that the transition from the worldview with a centripetal dominant to the worldview with a centrifugal dominant in Dostoevsky's novel "The Teenager" (1875) anticipates the contours of the artistic world of Chekhov (Syzranov, 2010).

Problem Statement

The problem is that, up to the present, in literary criticism, there is no methodologically consistent differentiation of categories of the artist's worldview (or world outlook) and artistic outlook. Literary scholars, as a rule, operate with the concepts of worldview and worldview, often identifying them with the concept of worldview, when studying the philosophical and religious content of the work of a writer. For a long time, there was a statement of a substantial and quite apparent discrepancy in the worldviews of Dostoevsky and Chekhov. This statement was an obstacle that did not allow discerning the deep proximity of their worldviews and the ensuing connections at the level of artistic anthropology and the picture of the world. Moreover, this prevented the recognition and disclosure of the dialectical transition processes in the literature movement from Dostoevsky to Chekhov.

Research Questions

The subject of study is deep connections between the artistic worlds of Dostoevsky and Chekhov, which are revealed when the first intuitive experience of the artist underlying the artistic worldview is brought to the center of attention.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the work is to describe the transition patterns from the Dostoevsky's artistic world to the Chekhov's (1982) artistic world. This study based on the dialectical nature of the primary aesthetic experience, which determines the structure of the artistic worldview and picture of the world, the principles of artistic anthropology, and poetics. Thus, it is supposed to reveal the significance of the artistic worldview as an underlying factor in literary connections.

Research Methods

Achieving this goal involves attracting a methodology that has not yet been mastered by modern literary criticism. We see a fundamental distinction between worldview (worldview) and worldview and the focus on the first intuitive experience of the artist, which determines the structure of the artistic worldview and picture of the world. Differentiation of these concepts can be evaluated as a moment of the significant novelty of our approach. In general, the methodology of our article is based on the principles and methods of philosophy and aesthetics (Losev, 2015). First of all, the value for this work is his teachings about the art world view, the tragic myth, and the art form. Losev believed that dialectics is a fundamental method of scientific thinking. Losev (2015) used the dialectical method in all his works. Therefore, following the dialectical method is accepted by us as a guiding methodological principle. Besides, we use elements of many scientific methods that modern literary criticism has at its disposal. First, used in this work elements comparative historical, cultural, and historical structurally-analytical, hermeneutic approaches.


The artistic outlook issue is in the center of attention of Losev (2015) in his thesis "On the attitude of Aeschylus" (1914–1915). In the first section of this work, a distinction is made between attitude and worldview. This difference consists in the degree and quality of spontaneous moments in the perception of the environment. The perception of the world, like any sensation, is intuitively predominant (Losev, 2015). Losev characterizes the attitude of the world, identified with a worldview as a synthesizing ability predominantly. That is, at the intuitive sensation level, the artist experiences the world and any object included in its composition as a kind of wholeness. The ability to perceive the world in art is primary, the ability of an indirect, analyzing the perception of the environment, that is, the worldview is secondary.

Losev (2015) describes the artistic outlook in work "The structure of the artistic outlook" (1916). The philosopher derives all the structures of cognitive consciousness, including the artistic outlook from the "pure experience," from the point of ontological contact of being and consciousness. Moreover, the artistic consciousness activity is described as an ascent from the formlessness of real experience to the formality of structural formations. In the process of such ascent, the main constitutive artistic worldview characteristics are formed by musicality, tragedy, degree of personal relevance (manifestation of a personal beginning), religiosity (in its pre-confessional form) (Losev, 2015). Losev regards music as a direct precedent for a tragic attitude and artistic attitude in general. In this matter, Losev agrees with the conclusions of F. Nietzsche. Researchers have repeatedly noted the importance of the musical beginning in the poetics of Dostoevsky and Chekhov. Here we do not intend to explore the actual musical sources of their artistic experience. The closest connection between musicality and tragedy goes back to the initial experience of the coexistence of formalization moments and world formlessness. Experience is the basis of the artistic outlook. This experience develops into a particular paradigm structure, which we, after Losev, call the tragic myth. We consider this structure as a frequent basis of attitude and picture of the world and Dostoevsky and Chekhov. Her descriptions by Losev (2015) ultimately bring together the concepts of "tragic attitude" and "tragic myth."

According to Losev (2015), three planes are included in the tragic attitude (and in the tragic myth): 1) the world as chaos-cosmos, as the unity of formality and formlessness; 2) the human person as his focus; 3) "the plan of the transfigured and resurrected life": "Since there is a horror of being, the world of universal happiness and the transformation of this from the suffering world are already expected and dimly felt". In the work of Dostoevsky, all three planes of a tragic attitude are traced with full distinctness. In Chekhov's picture of the world, they are not clear. Nevertheless, we undertake to trace their presence, which will allow achieving our goal.

Dostoevsky has a text fixing the very first moment of awakening his attitude. We are talking about the well-known description of the Vision on the Neva, included in the novel "Weak Heart" (1848), in the feuilleton "Petersburg Dreams in Poems and Prose" (1861) and the novel "The Teenager." The brilliant panorama of St. Petersburg suddenly turns in the Vision of the author and heroes into a fantastic picture of shapeless steaming outlines rising to the sky. In Petersburg Dreams, Dostoevsky admits that this Vision was an awakening of his creative consciousness: "I seemed to <...> see through something new <...> I believe that in these very minutes my existence began" (Dostoevsky, 1990, p. 55). Tragedy, as the first constitutive moment of the artistic worldview, is revealed here accurately as described by Losev. Namely, tragedy appears as a breakthrough of formlessness "into a clear and shaped world of visible reality." This first experience and defines the world – and with feeling Dostoyevsky hero. Chaos, "disorder," non-being is experienced as the other side of the reality of the world and self-identity of the individual. This kind of attitude is the development and deepening of the tragic experience of the heroes of Shakespeare. "Am I a trembling creature, or do I have the right?" – The researchers have already noted that this pathetic questioning of Raskolnikov is an extremely reformulated reformulation of the famous Hamletian "to be or not to be?" From the perspective of new existential experience. It can be noted that Dostoevsky's work anticipates the specific combination of "hamlet" and "Dionysian," which Western scholars see in the work of F. Nietzsche (Pyles, 2017). The problem of "Russian Hamlet" has been put forward more than once in Chekhov's work. For the first time with all certainty, she was identified in the play "Ivanov" [1887]. We consider the increased attention to the problem of "hamlet" among Dostoevsky and Chekhov as one of the evidence of the tragic origins of their attitude. The crucial moment of the tragedy here is that a person in the artistic world of both writers finds his existence on the verge of being and non-being. The ideological heroes of Dostoevsky are trying to gain ontological ground in their self-consciousness, in their "idea," and in this titanic aspiration, inevitably come to a breakdown. The poet and critic Innokenty Annensky justifiably described the picture of the inner life of the hero of Dostoevsky as an alternation of states of "twist" and "tear."

The aesthetic and typological point of the world Dostoevsky once Fazis picture reflects a deepening crisis of humanistic Renaissance culture H The start point time of crisis recorded in the works of Shakespeare and other figures of the late Renaissance in Europe, primarily in the Cervantes' work. The prominent 20th-century cultural scientist Pitirim Sorokin described the patterns of dynamics of this crisis process as the principle of fluctuations – the alternation of ups and downs in the life of the culture. In Dostoevsky's work, in our view, and it reflects another fluctuation positiveness annoy humanistic culture, and the next peak, titanic self-assertion inevitably follows him anguish and fall. There is a reason to imagine a transition from Dostoevsky's artistic world to Chekhov's world according to the fluctuations principle. A vivid expression of this transition is given in the fate of Versilov, one of the central heroes of the novel "Teenager." The personality and fate of Versilov embody tragic conflicts of a universal scale - the loss of a "binding idea" (the expression of Kraft, one of the characters of the "Teenager") by the secular culture of the New Age, resulting in a total "mess" in all areas of personal and public life, how about this Dostoevsky (1990) writes in preparatory materials for the novel. The general cultural significance of the situation of "anguish" and "disorder" recorded by the author of the "Teenager" determines the specifics of the self-feeling of the future Chekhov hero: "With a heavy head, with a lazy soul, weary, worn, broken, without faith, without love, without purpose, like a shadow, I wander among people and do not know: who am I, why do I live, what do I want?" ("Ivan s") (Chekhov, 1982). "Mess" and "binding idea" are Dostoevsky's key concepts. These concepts are an expression of the primary and tragic in nature experience of the world as a chaos-cosmos. As such, they remain and are of decisive importance in Chekhov's work.

It is logical and indicative that Chekhov expressed his experience of comprehending "disorder" in the sphere of consciousness of his heroes in two concepts – "chameleon" and "case." These concepts are typologically correlated with such concepts of Dostoevsky as "duality" and "Underground." At the same time, Chekhov's concepts are genetically going back to the novelist's texts: the hero of Notes from the Underground (1864) refers to his apartment as a "case," and Versilov compares himself to the chameleon (as an assumption) in The Teenager. The variability and inconsistency of Versilov's moods and actions anticipate the anguish and disintegration of personality that Chekhov's heroes come to in the process of "chameleon" alternating bouts of "excitement" and "fatigue." However, this alternation itself marks the failure and collapse of their ephemeral efforts aimed at restoring the "fastening idea." Dostoevsky also revealed the reason for such failures: "Wealth is greater, but strength is less; no connecting thought. He blamed everything and blamed everything" (Dostoevsky, 1990, p. 33) This work is saturated with the motives of the Apocalypse, and the concept of "power" refers here to the apocalyptic symbol of "living water" (Rev. 21). The "ideological" constructions of Dostoevsky's heroes carry a religious task in themselves – to affirm the connection between the "I" of the empirical and the "I" of the noumenal. Ideas are divorced from the sources of "living water" – direct experience of communion with God. Thus, ideas lose their binding power and degenerate into specific quasi-religious complexes, plunging their carriers into a state of extreme spiritual hopelessness. The characterization of this quasi-religious orientation of secularized consciousness is given in the "Teenager" through the mouth of Makar Ivanovich: "a person cannot be in order not to bow down; such a person will not carry himself, and indeed no person. Furthermore, he will reject God, so he will worship the idol - wooden, or golden, or mental" (Dostoevsky, 1990, p. 62).

The opposition of "mind" and "power" as an indicator and factor of general "disorder" is stated in Chekhov's story "Pipe" (1887). From the fishing of the old shepherd Luke Poor the following: "I reason so that God gave the mind to man, and took power. <...> Therefore, they became impoverished because God took power away" (Chekhov, 1982, p. 35).

Chekhov's characters, as the heroes of Dostoevsky, trying to compensate e the ontological extreme "poverty," opened this non-being of secular consciousness. Moreover, they do it using the production I some religious surrogates. In the story "On the Way" (1886), Chekhov shows that the ability of "belief," which is highly inherent in Russian people, is undergoing a further phase of the crisis fixed by Dostoevsky: "Russian life is a continuous series of beliefs and passions, and it is disbelief or denial yet if you want to know, and did not smell."If a Russian person does not believe in God, this means that he believes in something else" (Chekhov, 1982, p. 63). Chekhov's hero in Yeru is "into something else," absolutizing any relative ideological or even all sorts of content individually of experience. Chekhov's hero finds his consciousness into a "case." However, through this, he comes to self-destruction, to general disunity and the collapse of social ties with far-reaching catastrophic consequences. Dostoevsky predicted an apocalyptic perspective of this kind of consequence in the epilogue "Crimes and Punishments" (1866). In Raskolnikov's nightmare visions, it is shown that people come to mutual extermination precisely because "everyone thought that the truth lies in him alone" (Dostoevsky, 1990).

In contrast to Dostoevsky, Chekhov creates in his work with the picture of a total of catastrophism is quite palpable apocalyptic perspective. At the same time, Chekhov Reject essay of realistic and entirely domestic credibility. Studying the apocalyptic of Dostoevsky, literary scholars point out its organic connection with the religious worldview of the writer (Kotelnikov, 2011). In the case of Chekhov, it is difficult to indicate such a relationship, since he repeatedly recognized himself as a man of the unbeliever. At this point, the methodological advantage of addressing not to the world outlook, but the artist's worldview is revealed. The perception of the artist includes a moment of pre-confessional religious experience. This experience can be described as an invasion and "transcendental Assessment reality," breaking" self-destroyed myths" characters (Carson, 2019).

Chekhov shows the image is suffering nature, doomed house or city, the dying garden, as well as the motive s court. Their inclusion determines the symbolic potential of Chekhov's images in the biblical context, achieved by various references to prophetic books, gospel texts, and the Apocalypse. Chekhov's work on this site has been little studied precisely because of the lack of a methodologically conscious appeal to the problem of attitude. We conclude that the apocalyptic of both Dostoevsky (1990) and Chekhov actualizes that third aspect of the tragic attitude (and the tragic myth), which in Losev (2015) is characterized as a "plan of the transfigured and resurrected life."

Chekhov can indicate many works, not only riddled with an apocalyptic apprehension of global catastrophism but also including direct references to the Apocalypse. In addition to the already mentioned "Flute," this is the story "Chamber No. 6" (1892), "The Story of an Unknown Person" (1893), and "The Black Monk" (1894). In the first of them, the apocalyptic symbolism of number 6, which determines the composition of the plot, is updated. In the 6th chapter of the story, Dr. Ragin admits that he does not believe in the immortality of the soul. In the 12th chapter (6 + 6), his mental abilities are examined (6 people participate in this scene). In the 18th (6 + 6 + 6) he falls into the ward number 6, becoming here the 6th patient. In the description of the retaliatory hero of retribution, such detail as the "sickle" draws attention: "It is who took the sickle, stuck it into it and turned it several times in the chest and intestines" (Chekhov, 1982, p.64). It recognizes the reminiscence of the apocalyptic image of the court as a harvest: "And the angel threw his sickle to the ground and cut the grapes on the ground, and cast it into the great sharpener of the wrath of God" (Rev. 14).

However, the dialectical completeness of Chekhov's apocalypticism, which implements the third aspect of the paradigm of the tragic myth, manifests itself precisely in what Losev said, through the "horror of being," the secret news about the imminent "transformation of this suffering world" sounds. Catastrophism is experienced as the final world destruction, and as the eve of its resurrection and transformation. Hence, in Chekhov's texts, those sudden soulful hymn passages illuminating the darkest and most painful scenes of life from outside the world: "the truth and beauty that guided human life there, in the garden and the courtyard of the high priest, have continued uninterrupted to this day and have always been the main thing in human life and in general on the earth" ("Student"); "And no matter how evil is great, yet the night is quiet and beautiful, and yet in the world of God there is truth and will be, it is just as quiet and beautiful, and everything on earth only waits to merge with the truth, as moonlight merges with the night" ("In the ravine"). The famous monologue of Sonya in the ending of the play "Uncle Vanya" (Chekhov, 1982) also penetrates the apocalyptic pathos of waiting for the final victory over evil and the future transformation of the suffering world.


Based on the methodology of Losev, on his doctrine of the artistic attitude, we were able to discover the organic relationship of the artistic worlds of Dostoevsky and Chekhov. Their organic relationship is due to the isomorphism of the structure of their first intuitive experience of comprehension of life. In the works of both writers, we traced the projections of the paradigm of the tragic myth. Following Losev, we consider the tragic myth as a generative model of the artistic picture of the world as such. The Vision is revealed to both writers from the perspective of a new existential experience of the personality. This personality feels itself in the focus of chaos-cosmic confrontation and survives its existence on the verge of being and non-being (existing and non-existing). The artistic recreation of this experience in Dostoevsky (1990) and Chekhov is an explication of a new phase of the crisis of Renaissance humanism, the first moment of which was recorded by Shakespeare and Cervantes. Cultural-historical fluctuation is a result of the crisis and the tear of the Renaissance type of consciousness. Cultural-historical fluctuation is most clearly identified in the work of Dostoevsky, and its consequences – in the work of Chekhov.

The "mess" of the Dostoevsky's (1990) and Chekhov's heroes' inner sphere is revealed as a result of the of a "binding idea," a "connecting thought" loss. That is, "disorder" is a consequence of the separation of the Renaissance and post-Renaissance types of consciousness from the sources of "living water," namely, from direct experience of communion with God. To denote the experience of communion with God, Dostoevsky (1990) used the term "living life." This term of Dostoevsky has deep roots in the European philosophical tradition. The heroes are trying to solve the religious by nature problem of finding a "binding idea" on the dead end ways of producing quasi-religious fictions, various kinds of spiritual surrogates. As both Dostoevsky and Chekhov show, this kind of orientation of secularized consciousness leads to global catastrophic consequences, for which the signs of the Apocalypse are guessed. The saturation of writers' works with apocalyptic motives cannot always be directly correlated with their religious worldview.

To some extent, this is justified when we are dealing with the work of Dostoevsky. However, this is not possible concerning Chekhov since we do not have strong evidence of his consistent, religiously determined religious worldview. However, in the light of the worldview category, apocalypticism seems to be a completely organic component of the Chekhov picture of the world. Chekhov implements the third, "invisible and hidden," but dialectically necessary aspect of the tragic myth. Chekhov realizes the experience of the world "on the eve of the transformation." Thus, we are convinced that the Dostoevsky and Chekhov's apocalyptic is entirely consistent with the dogmatic provisions of Christian historiosophy and eschatology. At the same time, we acknowledge that their works grow out of purely artistic and pre-confessional intuitions. This circumstance testifies that Chekhov's artistic experience is quite comparable with Dostoevsky's experience in the degree of dialectical completeness of the tragic myth embodied in the work. In turn, this is an essential criterion for distinguishing the literary worlds of writers from the model of the world that we find in the art of modernism. The apocalyptic of modernist art is no longer able to overcome the tragic antinomy of present catastrophism and the desired transformation of the world. For Dostoevsky and Chekhov, this transformation is not only sought-after but invisibly taking place in that powerful catharsis, which is inherently included in the denouement of their tragic plots. In conclusion, we would like to note that our study, at some key points, is closely related to the very fruitful concept of theopoetics, substantiated in the works of many English researchers (Walton, 2019).

We have seen that turning to the category of artistic outlook opens up fruitful prospects for exploring the deep foundations of aesthetic comprehension of reality, which determine the picture of the world and the poetics of word artists, as well as the interaction of the artistic worlds of writers and the laws of the literary process


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31 October 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

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Syzranov, S. V., & Abgaryan, N. B. (2020). Artistic Attitude As A Factor Of Literary Relations. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1057-1064). European Publisher.